Shoshana Zuboff, in the New York Times:

We thought that we search Google, but now we understand that Google searches us. We assumed that we use social media to connect, but we learned that connection is how social media uses us. We barely questioned why our new TV or mattress had a privacy policy , but we’ve begun to understand that “privacy” policies are actually surveillance policies.


Surveillance capitalists are fast because they seek neither genuine consent nor consensus. They rely on psychic numbing and messages of inevitability to conjure the helplessness, resignation and confusion that paralyze their prey.


Surveillance capitalism begins by unilaterally staking a claim to private human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. Our lives are rendered as data flows.

The common trope of “if you don’t pay for it, you’re the product” is just the tip of the iceberg. This libertarian bullshit of blowing up society in order to hand it over to The Invisible Hand™ is some scary stuff. We coast along, and it’s happening behind the scenes. I have no idea if it can be stopped, or, some day, reversed.